Friday, April 29, 2005

season five is even cooler

I wrote this review on when The West Wing : Season 4 was released. Apparently 18 out of 22 people who read it found it to be helpful. I expect the commission check to land on my mat any day now.

Making Politics Cool, October 12, 2004
Reviewer: JL Pagano from Dublin, Ireland

If you have been put off watching The West Wing in the past for reasons like "Ah, I think politics is boring" or "Ah, it's an American network drama so it must be predictable" or anything along those lines, I challenge you to watch just ONE episode. ANY episode. Then tell me your head is not filled with enough questions to go back and watch from Series 1, Episode 1. For this is pretty much what happened to me!

The dialogue is intellectual and extremely pacy. Bodies are moving everywhere in every direction with what must be precision timing. And this is before I mention what can only be described as heroic antics by the cameramen who are often forced to travel backwards at quite high speeds while still focusing on their chattering erudite subjects.
Check your local listings and see when there is an episode on. ANY episode. Just watch it, and be prepared to order Series 1 from Amazon for starters. Don't worry, it won't be long before you'll be just like me; opening the Amazon box with Series 4 and wondering when the fifth instalment is due.

Well, the fifth instalment came out last Monday. Since I was busy, I couldn't do the groupie thing and be there at opening time, and had to wait until Tuesday to finally catch up with the West Wing timeline. I kept Season 6 on a bunch of videotapes until I fully caught up - don't tell those scaremongers from the Federation Against Copywright Theft, will you?

I cannot tell you how much I like this show. And before you say it, no, it's not just because they chose to portray a Democrat as president. If you have followed the story, it doesn't exactly make Jed Bartlett out to be God's gift to American politics. If you are going to do a drama based on the White House, you have to pick one side, and since liberals are reputed to own the media, I guess it had to be the true-blue donkeys that won the day in that debate.

Thank you so much, Aaron Sorkin & co, for restoring my faith in American network television. Maybe they're not just there to produce meaningless mind fodder for the materialistic masses after all.


Benny K said...

Well, ya got me. I have never watched The West Wing precisely because I am not intersted in politics. However, I am fond of checking out TV on DVD from the library. It's a great (re: free) way to check out shows that have gotten a lot of hubbub but that you've never watched. Based on your recommendation alone, I will check into this show. Thanks for the tip!

Mike Todd said...

A Democratic president? What kind of futuristic fantasy world are they expecting us to buy into?

I honestly haven't seen a single episode -- but now I'll have to check it out.

James Howard Shott said...

I like this series, too, despite the fact that the President is a Democrat. And, by Jove, JL, I think that makes two things you and I agree on.

I have some criticisms, though. First and foremost, the dialog is just a little too glib to be believable. Nobody talks like that. Yeah, I know. It's a TV show, not real life.

Second, as you said, when you do a show about the White House, the President and the administration have to be from a particular party. What I object to is that they write the show to advance the liberal agenda, which, unlike having to pick one party to focus on, isn't essential. You can show the conflict between the administration and the Republicans without making the Republicans look like evil incarnate.